Ad Astra Radio Family Brands

Five Storylines for Girls State Track


By Brad Hallier


WICHITA, Kan. – Look, it’s easy to poke fun or and rip into the Kansas State High School Activities Association. The list of problems is longer than a typical weekend honey-do list.

But one thing that almost everyone agrees upon – and trust me, you can’t find this much agreement on anything – is state track. Friday and Saturday, all six classifications will meet at Wichita State’s Cessna Stadium for the annual organized chaos that comes with state track. It is truly a sight to behold.

Here are five storylines to watch for this weekend on the girls side.

Central Christian freshman has flown under the radar but won’t for long

While statewide media heaps deserved praise upon conference and regional champions, and praise talented freshmen with “the future is bright at this school,” there is one most have missed out on. Central Christian has a talented freshman – as in, state championship talented – that has seemingly gotten zero press.

Meet Jessa Losew.

A big reason for that anonymity might be because Losew missed most of the spring, and the end of basketball season, with a stress fracture. She did play in the first round of the Class 1A Division 2 state basketball tournament but wasn’t able to gobble up rebounds like prime Dennis Rodman, as she usually did. Then, the spring started and she tried competing in track, but needed more time off. All told, before Losew returned in May, she had missed 10 weeks. She has competed in just three meets since returning from the injury.

Losew may not be turning heads like a second-year Patrick Mahomes, but she may this weekend.

Losew, who competes with the vigor and enthusiasm of someone who has a birthday every day, cleared a school-record 5 feet, 5 inches in the high jump at regionals, which tied for the best regional clearance across all classes. That school record had stood since 1980 before regionals.

But Losew does more. She is the top seed in the 400 meters, where she was a regional champion in a time of 1 minute, 0.14 seconds. That also broke a school record that had stood since 1978. In the triple jump, Losew is seeded seventh after going 35-1 at regionals, a far cry from her school record of 36-9, which would place her as the second seed.

Know the name Jessa Losew now, because sooner or later, many in Kansas will.

Hutchinson continues to produce high-caliber hurdlers

“Hurdles High” is what Salthawk track should be referred to. The boys and girls teams have seemingly produced a number of state-championship-caliber hurdlers, and this year is no different.

Senior Annalisa Cullens is arguably the state’s top hurdler. She was the only girl to break 45 seconds in regionals at the 300-meter hurdles, coming in with a time of 44.92. Cullens is also the second seed in Class 5A in the 100 hurdles, finishing in a time of 14.51. That was the fourth-best time in all classes, and Cullens was one of just five girls to go under 15 seconds at regionals.

Cullens should be a lot of fun to watch this weekend.

Strength is in numbers for Andale

It’s almost laughable at how great Andale athletics are. In some sports, Andale doesn’t just win. They pound opponents into submission.

The Andale girls are a strong favorite to win the Class 4A state championship, as the Indians qualified 25 entries for the state meet.

Twenty-five. Any program in any class that qualifies double-digit entries should be lauded. In eight events, Andale qualified more than one.

Senior Mckenzie Fairchild is good for some 20-plus points. She’s the overwhelming favorite in the javelin – she went 160-5 in regionals and only one other competitor went over 130-0 – and she also is seeded No. 1 in the discus by almost 10 feet. Fairchild also qualified in the shot put and should contend for a medal.

But Andale has much more. Other top seeds from Andale include senior Maddie Schrandt in the 200 and 400, and both the 400 and 1,600 relays.

If all six of those entries win, that’s already 60 points won before other medals are counted. And there will be plenty. Good luck 4A.

Buhler quietly put together a great season and entry list for state

Buhler pieced together a solid season, but in 4A, Andale can easily overshadow that. Still, Buhler qualified 15 entries for state, which is a heck of a number.

The Crusaders have some contenders too. Senior Caylin Seely is the top seed in the 100 hurdles after finishing with a 15.03 in regionals, and Seely is also seeded second in the 300 hurdles (46.07). Senior Emilie Schweizer also is a regional champion and top seed in the shot put (40-5). Schweizer was one of three in 4A to go over 40-0 at regionals.

Will Buhler compete with Andale in the team standings? No. Can Buhler compete for a top-five finish? Absolutely.

Inman junior looking for a hurdles double

Madilyn Heflin has pieced together a strong season and looks to finish her season with a pair of hurdle gold medals.

Heflin is the top seed in both hurdles races in Class 2A. She was the only 2A competitor to go under 16 seconds at regionals in the 100 hurdles (15.61), and her 300 hurdles time of 46.32 was one of two 2A regional times under 47.85.

Heflin also will compete in the 400 and 1,600 relays. The Teutons are seeded third in the 1,600 relay.